Imagine buying an e-bike with an electric hub motor. Thinking it's just like a motorcycle, you might take it out on the main road and ride side by side with four-wheeled vehicles.
Two things can happen in this situation: either you'll slow every vehicle behind you, or you'll get into an accident with the one in front of you.
E-bikes have restrictions for a reason, but you’ll still find freedom in riding them. And the class 2 e-bike holds it for those who see the fun in cruising around the city. But first, let's answer the big question.
Why Classify Electric Bikes?
Classifying electric bikes is a way to keep riders safe. In the United States, laws are in place to categorize different types of e-bikes according to their top speed and power. As a result, you can ride certain bike types on the main road, while others must stay on the sidelines.
In general, states with electric bicycle laws permit an electric bike. But some states have yet to recognize e-bikes, and you may have to secure a license before you ride one.
Different E-Bike Classes
Most US states classify e-bikes under four categories.
Class 1 E-Bike
Electric bikes with a class 1 designation have sensors in either the rear hub motor or the bottom bracket. The sensors pick up your pedaling speed and respond accordingly.
In other e-bike models, you can choose different pedal-assist modes. Each assistance level gives you a certain top speed. Class 1 e-bikes have a speed limit of 15 to 20 mph. Because they’re reliant on pedals, laws recognize them to be on the same level as a traditional bike.
Class 2 E-Bike
Take a class 1 e-bike, and then put in a throttle feature, and you get a class 2. E-bikes with throttle assist can control their acceleration and speed. Push a button or twist the handlebar grip, and you get an immediate speed boost.
Class 2 e-bikes tend to be confused with mopeds or motorcycles with pedals. That's because some class 2 models have twist-grip throttles. But their top speed remains similar to a class 1 bike: 15 to 20 mph max. Thus, they still count as regular bikes and can cruise among the analogs on bike paths and minor street pavements.
Class 3 E-Bike
E-bikes with a little more top speed but rely on pedal-assist alone belong to class 3. Depending on your pedaling efforts, e-bike models of this kind can run at a top speed of 28 mph—a speed that rivals a moped. That's why some states may require you to secure a license before taking a class 3 for a spin.
Class 3 e-bikes are allowed on main roads as they are considered motor vehicles. On the flip side, if you own an e-bike belonging to this class, you'll have to steer clear of the bike path.
Class 4 E-Bike
Electric bicycles with a top speed beyond 28 mph are considered class 4 e-bikes. Fully throttle-operated mopeds and motorcycles generally fall under this category. But e-bike models with a pedal-assist feature that reaches this speed also belong to class 4 and will need special licensing.
The good thing about class 4 e-bikes is that they have the liberty to venture off-road. These speed machines look like their mountain bike cousins, and you can take them for a run on the trails. Of course, these bikes are also permitted on common roads.
Cool Things You’ll Get from a Class 2 Electric Bike
Class 2 bikes are the coolest thing if you're looking for a smooth commute. These bikes will let you enjoy the breeze and the cityscape. Apart from that, here are other cool things you can expect from a class 2 electric bike.
- Ride anywhere. Most US states recognize class 2 bikes. You can ride them on a bike lane without needing a license.
- Rest without losing speed. If your knees get tired from pedaling but you want to keep going, you can use the throttle power to gain more speed.
- Conquer hills with ease. Another thing that will make you sweat is the hills. But if you want, the throttle assist can take you up that incline effortlessly.
- Travel further for less effort. Combined pedal plus throttle means you have an extended travel range because you and your bike's motor are working together.
- Boost your speed. Bike riders can pedal an average of 17 mph. With throttle assist, you can reach a speed of up to 20 mph.
Recommended Class 2 Electric Bikes for Adults
Class 2 e-bikes are everywhere, and finding the right one that will make for an enjoyable riding experience can be difficult. Luckily, we've checked out a few of the best second-category e-bikes, so we can report back to you the experience.
The Swagtron folding e-bike's main advantage is you can drive it off-road. It can withstand the bumps on grassy terrain or a mild dirt track. The rear suspension does the work.
On the other hand, the wheels on this pony are a bit small, but you wouldn't mind driving it around. Having cruise control on your throttle assist makes it easy to maintain speed. Read our Swagtron SwagCycle review to know more.
Ancheer Folding City Commuter
If you’re a frequent urban commuter, you will love the Ancheer folding e-bike. This commuter vehicle has a large enough wheel size to achieve a constant maximum speed without sacrificing handling. The folding feature compensates for the large wheel size. It's still portable enough that you can store it under your desk.
What makes Ancheer an awesome class 2 folding e-bike is its adaptability on the road. You get a water-resistant battery pack that can weather a sudden downpour. You also get a headlight when you need to ride at night. Lastly, it has a built-in rear rack where you can put your stuff for easy hauling.
If you love to roam around the city or you're looking for a more eco-friendly commute alternative, check out Ancheer.
The Vilano folding bike is perhaps a hybrid of the first two bikes. It has certain similar features, but the result you get is a lighter and more accessible city commute.
What makes Vilano a gem is that it's compact and light. The frame design is tight and straightforward, which also makes the handlebar and the seat post easy to set up and adjust.
You can take the Vilano for a relaxing nighttime stroll in the city. This class 2 folding bike has both a headlight and a taillight; they allow other commuters to see you while lighting the way in front of you.
If you want to go for a lightweight folding bike that you can drag around anywhere, you have to check out the Vilano Quark.
Cruise Free in the City
Class 2 electric bikes give you freedom when it comes to riding in the city. Sure, class 1 e-bikes give you assisted cardio workout, and classes 3 and 4 can give you a rush. But the throttle-on-demand of a class 2 bike brings a carefree gliding feeling like no other, and that’s what makes it such a great choice. You'll get to enjoy your city streets more and travel further with less legwork.
The class 2 e-bikes we've recommended are just a taste. If you want to get the full scoop on all things bike, check out Cycle Buddy for more cool bike-related information.